I Don’t Quite Get It

by Don Friedman on April 8, 2016

I’ve been puzzling over this wall for a while.

The building on the right was constructed about 1896. The McDonald’s is either a late-twentieth century replacement for a four-story building or the top three floors were chopped off the four-story at some point. (More like the chopping than new construction, but it’s not really germane to my point.)

You can see the ghost of the missing building on the side wall of the building on the right, particularly near the top of the photo, where the front-facade white brick wraps around above where the old parapet was.

My question is what’s going on further back, where the plane of the wall changes? One possibility is that the building on the right has a skeleton frame, and we’re seeing bugs at the spandrel beams where an old party wall was removed. But that raises the questions of (1) why do we only see one column and (2) why was the wall only removed in the center and not closer to the street? I’d have a better feel for the issue if I was certain about how much the wall was in and out of the general plane and where that plane is relative to the lot line, but climbing on the McD’s roof without permission is probably a bad idea.

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